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VICTORY: Violence Intervention for the Community Through Outreach Recovery

Capital Health is proud to serve victims of violence in Mercer County through the Violence Intervention for the Community Through Outreach Recovery (VICTORY) program. With a long history of collaboration and service to the community, we’ve partnered with the Catholic Charities Diocese of Trenton, The Children's Home Society, and Millhill Child & Family Development to implement a hospital-based intervention program that aims to break the cycle of violence by:

  • Identifying and connecting victims of violence to appropriate social support services.
  • Reducing the reoccurrence of violence and the need for repeat trauma/emergency care.
  • Educating Capital Health staff about providing care that promotes a sense of safety and empowerment for victims of violence and peer-to-peer support for health care workers.

When a victim of violence is identified upon admission to the Bristol Myers Squibb Trauma Center at Capital Health Regional Medical Center (RMC), a trauma support counselor (TSC) from the VICTORY program—also a survivor of violence—meets the patient at bedside, as well as the patient's family or other loved ones who provide support. The TSC then assesses the need for immediate safety and any emergency non-medical needs (such as shelter or transportation), explains the VICTORY program, and offers voluntary enrollment. Upon enrollment, and with the utmost respect for the participant’s privacy and culture, the TSC explains the cycle of violence, reviews the incident that brought the patient to RMC, explores any potential for retaliation, and begins a more comprehensive needs assessment.

Participants go on to work with their TSC and the program coordinator to determine which program partner can provide services that are best suited to their specific needs. After that, case managers and participants develop a care plan that outlines their specific needs, including ongoing safety concerns, referrals to other partner and/or affiliate agencies, and connections to local social services such as criminal justice advocacy, legal assistance, mental health/substance abuse therapists, mentoring programs, job training, housing and transportation, outpatient medical care, and more.

Research shows that post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms in victims of violence subside and the likelihood of planned or executed retaliation decreases when the victim’s behavioral health needs are addressed. Capital Health’s VICTORY program expands the flexibility and availability of community-based mental health/substance abuse services offered regardless of participants’ ability to pay. Each of our partner organizations in the program employs a master's level therapist to offer participants a broader range of expertise and options for care that foster an environment of safety and empowerment. From the initial connection at the time of crisis in the trauma center, VICTORY participants experience a comprehensive continuum of voluntary care, from crisis response and emergency planning to case management that addresses mental health/ substance abuse treatment and other needs.

As part of the VICTORY program, employees in the Emergency Department and the Bristol Myers Squibb Trauma Center at RMC attend semi-annual web-based training sessions to learn more about trauma-informed approaches to care that foster a culture of safety and an environment of empowerment and healing. Staff education also addresses self-care through mental health counseling and peer support groups.